Surprise! Blanket web filters don’t work

UK web filters

After the UK Government revealed plans for a nationwide porn filter, requiring users to opt in to view adult content on the internet, many sensible people pointed out the detrimental impact that this would have on legitimate websites.

Ostentatiously designed to prevent harm to children from the perils of the internet (or rather negligent parents), plans were introduced to “make filtering a standard option across industry”. Rather than seeing restrictive laws being put into place, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) moved first and enacted these changes in cooperation with Government.

As it turns out, the concerns of a blanket filter turned out to be entirely valid, with the BBC reporting that the Government are now drawing up a list of inadvertently blocked sites. Many sites on the list are run by charities that aim to educate children and others about health, sex education and drugs issues. What is worse is that websites that have nothing to do with the adult industry are also experiencing the adverse effects of a global filter. Reports have suggested that many innocuous sites such as TorrentFreak, a copyright and privacy news site, are also being accidentally caught up in the filters.

A spokesman for the Internet Service Provides Association, in giving the most obvious statement of the year, stated; “There’s a growing realisation that filters are not perfect and will lead to some over-blocking.” Shocking! So plans are afoot to draw up a master list of sites that are incorrectly blocked and to set up a system that will allow any site which thinks it has been wrongly blocked tell ISPs about the mistake so it can get on to the approved list. You have to wonder how long that may take.

Welcome to censorship Britain.

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